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The 9 Greatest Players to Wear AC Milan's Number 10 Shirt

90min Staff
Ruud Gullit of AC Milan and Diego Maradona of Napoli wait for the ball to be passed
Ruud Gullit of AC Milan and Diego Maradona of Napoli wait for the ball to be passed / Getty Images/GettyImages
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So many great players have played for AC Milan in their career, but only a select few have had the honour of wearing the much coveted number 10 jersey. And no, we don't mean Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Here's a glance at the nine greatest number 10s in Milan's long and glorious history...


Nils Liedholm

One third of the great Gre-No-Li Swedish trio, Nils Liedholm was one of the greatest trequartistas in the club's history. 

Joining Milan in 1949, he won his first Scudetto with the club two years later. Liedholm would go on to lift the Serie A title three more times in the years of 1955, 1957 and 1959, as well as the 1956 Latin Cup in what was one of Milan's most successful periods in their history. 

Leaving in 1961, he would return to as a manager in the 70s and even won another Scudetto in the 1978/79 season. He was inducted into Milan's Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the team, both as a player and as a manager.


Gianni Rivera

Gianni Rivera was one of the greatest number 10s ever to play the game.

Despite his small physique, Rivera became a regular during the 1962 title-winning season. Indeed, manager Nereo Rocco sought to build a team around Rivera and gave him the captaincy at 23 years of age - a role he'd remain in for the best part of the next 12 years. 

In 1963, he helped Milan win the European Cup. More success was to come though, and Rivera won another Scudetto in 1968, as well as a second European Cup in 1969 following a 4-1 final win over Johan Cruyff's Ajax. These victories were recognised when he was awarded the Ballon d'Or in the same year.

The 1970s saw him lift three Coppa Italia and a third Serie A title, as he remained integral to Milan's success. When he retired, he finished on 658 appearances for the club and remains the highest scoring midfielder in Serie A history on 128 goals.

Voted as Milan's greatest footballer in the 20th century in a 1999 poll organised by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Rivera is easily one of Milan's best players ever.


Alberto Bigon

Another who captained the Rossoneri, Bigon was another attacking midfielder who had quite the impact at Milan.

Despite his slight build, Bigon was a tactically intelligent player who could score and create for his teammates. He arrived at San Siro in 1971 and won three Coppa Italias between 1971 and 1977. The Italian also got his hands on the Scudetto when Milan won the league in 1979.

Overall, he played 218 league games for the club and scored 56 goals over his nine years, before departing for Lazio in 1980. He managed various Italian clubs later in his career, but it's for his time at Milan that he is remembered most fondly.


Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullitt
Ruud Gullitt / Simon Bruty/GettyImages

It's hard to stand out in the great Milan team of the late 1980s, but Dutch star Ruud Gullit somehow managed to.

Signed from PSV for a world-record transfer fee of £6m at the time, Gullit experienced success almost immediately, winning Milan's first Scudetto in nine years in the year of 1988. In the following year, he scored twice in the 4-0 European Cup final win over Steaua Bucharest as the Rossoneri won the competition for a third time.

The Dutchman helped Milan successfully defended their European title as they defeated Benfica in the 1990 final, and again lifted the Serie A title in their unbeaten 1991/92 season. Yet Gullit's role started to decrease in importance and left for Sampdoria in 1993 straight after securing a third league title.

He finished his career off at Chelsea before managing the Blues and Newcastle, and has become one of the most iconic Dutch players in football history.


Carlo Ancelotti

Diego Maradona and Carlo Ancelotti
Diego Maradona and Carlo Ancelotti / Getty Images/GettyImages

You probably know all about Carlo Ancelotti, Milan manager. But how well do you know him as a number 10?

Arriving in 1987 from Roma, Ancelotti was an all-around midfielder who could defend and dictate the game's tempo simultaneously with ease. He won the Scudetto in his first season at the club and the European Cup a year later. The Italian helped the Rossoneri defend their European Cup the next season and also won another Serie A title in 1992, before persistent knee problems led to him retiring that same year.

Ancelotti would return to Milan in 2001, and won two Champions League titles and a Scudetto as manager. He then went on to manage teams like Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to name a few, and is currently doing a fine job at Everton.


Roberto Donadoni

One of the greatest Italian wingers, Roberto Donadoni was another key part of the successful Saachi and later Capello-managed Milan teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He arrived from Atalanta in 1986 and won a staggering six Serie A titles during his ten years at San Siro. Playing over 250 games for the club, he also lifted the European Cup three times and was known for his acceleration, dribbling and versatility across the attacking midfield positions.

After his two spells for the Rosssoneri, he became a manager and coached the Italian national team after the 2006 World Cup, but was sacked after a disappointing Euro 2008 campaign. 


Daniele Massaro

Daniele Massaro wasn't the most prolific striker fans of the Rossoneri have ever seen, yet his aerial ability and finishing always made him a threat.

Having arrived from Fiorentina in 1986, Massaro won the Scudetto in his second season at the club. He helped Milan win the Champions League twice and is remembered fondly for his brace in the 1994 final win over Barcelona

Massaro also won three additional Serie A league titles before he left for Japan in 1995. The Italian was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame and currently works as a public relations manager for the team.


Zvonimir Boban

A colourful figure, Zvonimir Boban was an outspoken and tenacious player who also thrived as a playmaker at San Siro.

Nicknamed Zorro, he helped the team win the 1994 Champions League, having already won two Scudettos already for the Rossoneri. The Croat won another two league titles in the late 1990s before retiring in 2001, having seen his role diminished at the club. He played over 250 games for Milan and was voted one of the 20 best players to have ever played for the club. 

Boban returned to Milan as chief football officer but lasted only nine months before being sacked recently, comparing the club to a dictatorship afterwards.


Clarence Seedorf

FBL-EUR-C1-MILAN-CELTIC
FBL-EUR-C1-MILAN-CELTIC / DAMIEN MEYER/GettyImages

Clarence Seedorf was such a regular for Milan that no foreigner has played more games for the club.

He moved to Milan in 2002 from city rivals Inter and was considered one of the best midfielders in the world. During his ten years, Seedorf won a pair of Serie A titles and an additional two Champions Leagues, playing a grand total of 432 games for the club before leaving in 2012. 

The Dutchman returned to Milan two years later to briefly manage the team, but was dismissed after just four months in the job.


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